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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 23, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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emergency medical staff at ucsf and general, will be wearing an ring, to track body temperature and signs of an early onset of covid-19. that will do it for us at 5:00. we will see you again at 6:00. tonight, the dire new warnings on the coronavirus. emergency. the surgeon general sounding the alarm about what's to come as u.s. cases top 40,000 >> i want america to understand this week, it's going to get bad. >> the world health organization saying the pandemic is accelerating more than one in three americans now under stay at home orders but some beaches and attractions still packed hazmat crews scrubbing down public areas and the growing pressure to postpone the olympics after countries refuse to compete. also tonight, where are the masks and protective gear? desperate pleas on the front lines.
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>> we are given one mask a day, and we are reusing that mask throughout the day >> growing pressure on the trump administration to stop states from competing for supplies and late word tonight from president trump as the senate fights over that nearly $2 trillion rescue package that would send checks to americans. unemployment skyrocketing but a boom for delivery workers. the risks they take to bring others food and supplies the chilling new images from europe patients lying on the floor as hospitals are overloaded the alarming mental health toll on americans. the new ways to get help and what to watch out for. the unusual new coronavirus symptom. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening it is really hard to believe and frankly hard to accept the people we need most right now in the face of this crisis, our health care workers, are most at risk because they're running out of the means to protect themselves
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the disconnect between what we're being told about supplies on the way and what is actually happening in e.r.s is one of the many angles we're exploring tonight. as far as the numbers, no surprise they're going up, and they will, say authorities, unless all americans accept what's at stake and what we must do. we've got our team out covering it all, and miguel almaguer starts us off >> reporter: as the coronavirus crisis deepens and the u.s. government pleads for americans to go home and stay home, scenes like these are unfolding in cities across the country from canceled festivals to farmers markets and at beaches and basketball courts, many are ignoring the message to keep their social distance of at least six feet from one another. >> i want america to understand this week, it's going to get bad. >> reporter: the surgeon general, the nation's top doctor, says this is exactly how the virus spreads. >> there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously, and you just see it looking in california, people on the beaches.
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you see it in washington d.c., people out looking at the cherry blossoms. we need to take this seriously. >> reporter: with a growing list of governors in well over a dozen states now ordering residents to avoid leaving their house, more than 140 million americans are joining the more tha 1.5 billion people globally told to stay inside the world health organization warning the pandemic is accelerating with more than 300,000 cases recorded worldwide the sick now in nearly every country. >> i couldn't walk i couldn't speak more than maybe one to two words. >> reporter: fiona lowenstein, a 26-year-old new yorker, is among the growing list of young americans testing positive for the coronavirus. >> everyone was asking, okay, but are you autoimmune compromised? no, i am kind of the picture of health in many ways, and, you know, i'm still -- i still got really hit by this very hard. >> reporter: as
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communities big and small scramble to scrub and keep public spaces clean, even iconic landmarks like yosemite are closed indefinitely the national guard is providing support in all 50 states. officials are now worried cities like new orleans and states like florida and texas will be next to be hard-hit by the virus. >> we don't have enough personal protection equipment we don't have enough testing and collection equipment. we have the money for it, but the supplies are not available for us to be able to purchase >> reporter: with our nation in crisis, tonight more countries are calling for the tokyo olympics to be postponed. the international olympic committee considering that option while more american athletes, like track and field star eric conard take a stand. >> for fans and athletes to be safe, i think a global pandemic is definitely grounds for a postponement >> reporter: tonight a call for the world and the nation to come together everyone doing their part by staying apart.
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nbc news has confirmed for the first time in a 24-hour period, more than 100 americans died from symptoms connected to the coronavirus. the death toll in the u.s. has now soared over 500 but, lester, it's important to keep in mind the vast majority of americans who get sick are not hospitalized and don't ever need to see a doctor lester >> miguel almaguer, starting us off tonight, thanks. now to the deeply disturbing warnings from medical workers as hospitals ration masks, gowns, and goggles to their staffs some just days from running out and pleading for reinforcements here's nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: with the covid-19 pandemic crashing into emergency departments and icus nationwide, an urgent plea from frontline doctors, nurses and emts running low on personal protective equipment, ppe seattle icu nurse bobbie habdas, and her co-workers are now using just one mask all day. >> i'm scared.
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my co-workers are scared we're angry. we're terrified at the risk of us being underprotected >> reporter: when she pleaded for help on facebook, the community dropped off 2,000 masks at her front door san diego icu nurse shannon cotton says her hospital has ppe now under lock and key. >> as a nurse, if my patient's having an emergency, i need to be able to enter their room stat and help them and it's really frustrating because sometimes you wonder is there going to be an n95 mask there? is there a face shield >> reporter: with 1,000 beds going into new york's javits center, the mayor is warning new york city hospitals will run out of basic equipment within ten days. the governor says he's buying every mask and gown he can find worldwide, but he's imploring the federal government to take over the medical supply allocation for all states >> this is not the way to do it
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this is ad hoc, i'm competing with other states i'm bidding up other states on the prices. >> reporter: the trump administration says it's sending pallets of gear to states in most need. but the american hospital association warns of dwindling supplies and say even with an effusion of supplies from the strategic stockpile, there will not be enough medical supplies. >> we all know that eventually no matter how much personal protective equipment we are wearing, with the volume of patients we're seeing in the e.r., most of us in the health care workforce are going to get this. >> reporter: columbia university hospital doctor, sent her kids to stay with family before seeing her first covid patient. now she has tested positive. >> it justified the fear that i had that i was going to be the person that was going to infect my family. >> reporter: tonight major non-medical companies are stepping in to help apple and facebook donating millions of masks. hanes going from making underwear to surgical masks
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ford, gm, and tesla say they'll start producing ventilators, though engineers warn an fda-approved ventilator that pumps oxygen to the lungs while removing carbon dioxide is an extremely precise and complex piece of equipment with software and many moving parts meanwhile, another drug trial starts tomorrow, taking plasma from people who have had the virus, removing the antibodies, then injecting those antibodies into a sick patient, hoping to stimulate their immune system researchers believe it holds promise. lester >> let's hope all those supplies get to where they belong. all right. tom costello, thank you. as congress debates a massive stimulus package to stop the economic free fall, millions more workers are expected to file for unemployment benefits this week. our gabe gutierrez is here in new york where more businesses were forced to shut down today. >> reporter: turning his lights off and closing his doors last week was among the hardest things dan koch has ever done >> it's hard stuff these are people that are depending on me to
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sell their merchandise, and we're going to be closed >> reporter: his store on new york's upper west side has been in his family for four generations. it's now among the many empty small businesses across the country in dire straits. as lawmakers debate the stimulus plan, what do you make of it >> i think it's very hard to figure out how this bill is going to trickle down to help people like myself. >> reporter: today a life line. he learned his credit card company would postpone his payment until next month, allowing him to keep paying his workers but nationwide, unemployment claims are expected to soar this week into the millions in just one day last week, new jersey says a record 15,000 claims crashed the state's online system. outside seattle, hailey berman just filed for unemployment for the first time after the dental practice where she worked was forced to close. she's seven months pregnant, and her fiance owns a small business >> i'm worried about our life together, what that's going to look like in the
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future for our child, and now, you know, on top of everything, another concern is having to change my birth preferences. >> reporter: the small fishing town of barnegat light, new jersey, is already taking a huge hit. when restaurants go dark, its livelihood dries up. >> the seafood industry in this country, it's a big industry, and it may need some attention. it will need help. it will need financial support. >> reporter: there has never been such a sudden spike in unemployment claims, leaving cities big and small wondering what's next lester >> all right, gabe and this of course is why people are turning to their leaders, turning to washington. so we want to go and look at that bitter fight on capitol hill. the senate still deadlocked tonight as americans and american businesses wait desperately for emergency funding. peter alexander now with the latest. >> reporter: tonight senators still clashing over that massive relief package designed to rescue the paralyzed economy,
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including sending checks to millions of americans. senate democrats again today blocking the nearly $2 trillion emergency bill republicans accusing them of trying to squeeze in items that are unrelated to the crisis >> they're filibustering hospital funding and more masks because they want to argue with the airlines over their carbon footprint >> the country is burning, and your side wants to play political games. >> reporter: democrats complaining the bill does too little for workers and too much for corporations, including a $425 billion treasury department fund, they say, without enough oversight. >> the bill still includes something that most americans don't want to see. large corporate bailouts with almost no strings attached. >> reporter: also tonight, questions about how one senator has responded to the virus. rand paul, a physician, after testing positive, now under fire for meeting with senate colleagues and using the senate gym while awaiting his test results arizona's kyrsten sinema blasting it is
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irresponsible. paul, who says he's shown no symptoms, insisting he went beyond current guidelines, saying it was my extra precaution that led me to get tested. tonight the president is hinting he might scale back those tight restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the virus after the cdc's 15-day guidelines expire. >> america will again and soon be open for business, very soon. a lot sooner than three or four months we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself >> reporter: while health officials warn it will take longer than 15 days to have an impact, administration officials tell us the president and his advisers are anxious to restart parts of the economy. lester >> all right peter alexander, thank you. we'll be right back in 60 seconds with those on the risky front lines moving our food and other vital supplies is it safe and the growing mental health toll on americans. the new ways to cope
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the uk late today became the latest european country to impose a national lockdown as the virus ravages other countries that have ruled out similar drastic measures here's richard engel >> reporter: you don't want to be sick in spain tonight. patients line hallway floors in hospitals. a cautionary tale of how covid-19 can quickly overwhelm even modern health care systems. the death toll here now over 2,000 but hints of a brighter future in hard-hit italy for the second day, the death toll is going down still around 600 today, but the situation remains dire nbc's matt bradley is in rome. >> reporter: it's been a devastating weekend here in italy. the ambulances keep coming the medics in full protective gear. >> reporter: in china, where the virus first broke out, a different
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threat -- recontagion. the country says it has no new domestic cases but now fears it could get a second wave from the outside. so it's diverting all passengers to beijing to screening centers i spoke to a virologist leading the charge to develop a vaccine, who says progress is being made but cautions an untested vaccine can be more dangerous than the coronavirus. >> so the evidence is coming together suggesting that the virus can change and that there are different lineages that have different disease or more serious disease-causing effects. >> is that why we're seeing such different death tolls? >> that's probably one of the factors >> reporter: richard engel, nbc news, london back home as the economic impact of all this grows, some businesses, believe it or not, are hiring but the jobs potentially put the health of workers at risk let's get more now from jo ling kent.
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>> reporter: with unemployment claims surging, there is one bright spot on the job front tonight. grocery stores, online retailers, and delivery companies are hiring cvs adding 50,000 new jobs and paying out bonuses. instacart, the grocery delivery company, hiring 300,000 people. and walmart adding 150,000 new workers. all of them joining a new front line in this unprecedented fight to keep america's supply chain running, including thousands of truck drivers desperate to stay healthy and on the road, like dee silva, who talked with us from little rock, arkansas, where she was picking up a load of beef. her hand sanitizer almost gone. >> we have not been able to find any anywhere. >> what's it been like out on the road? >> it has been absolutely unnerving, especially when you have to go and shop in grocery stores and, you know, to supply your truck, and you're around people. there's a lot of people walking around
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like this is not happening, and that part is scary for me >> reporter: silva is social distancing by staying inside her truck as much as possible >> it's so important for drivers right now to, if they have the ability, to cook on their trucks >> reporter: adding to the stress for drivers, fewer restaurants are open, and silva told us consumers are doing too much panic buying. >> on behalf of american truckers, slow down, people. just get enough for a few days for your family another truck is coming we're coming the truckers are coming, people >> reporter: she also tells me since she does not have protective gear, she's wearing a bandanna to cover her face lester >> all right jo ling kent, thanks we are all feeling the stress right now and for people dealing with mental health issues, it's especially challenging. nbc's kate snow now with ways to cope. >> reporter: 25-year-old mason specter is sheltering in his apartment in los angeles. he co-founded the
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label madhappy, born out of his own struggles with depression, anxiety, and addiction, which he's managed for years. >> we direct a statewide order for people to stay at home >> reporter: but when california's governor announced the shelter in place order last thursday, mason had a panic attack >> i definitely feel some of my -- just those kind of bad feelings and kind of like bad thoughts start to creep in a little bit i think i've really just been trying to take it day by day >> your mind can go to worst case scenarios, right? >> yeah, totally i think like for me, it's like my mind is almost my own worst enemy at times. >> this is kind of my personal nightmare. >> reporter: for people with obsessive compulsive disorder who fought to overcome irrational fears of getting sick, coronavirus is a particular challenge. >> my biggest fear when all of this is over is that the world is going to start to move on, and i'm going to be stuck with -- with these compulsions. >> reporter: there are ways to get help,
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using telemedicine programs to connect with therapists and just the act of reaching out to others can be therapeutic too. >> we need to oftentimes take the focus off ourselves because that creates more anxiety and depression and put it on other people in terms of how are other people feeling and how we can support other people. >> it's like putting gas on a pfeiffer. >> reporter: tom voss was diagnosed with ptsd after serving in iraq he's making a concerted effort to reach out to other veterans, who say their anxiety is high. >> a lot of these men and women have support groups they're going to to deal with a lot of these stresses of war, and these are not available to physically go to but i'm seeing a lot of people coming online and starting groups >> i really think it's important that everyone feel no shame or judgment about however they're feeling. talk to the people that you love. talk to the people that you trust and just make sure that whatever you're feeling inside, you're getting it out somehow. >> reporter: kate snow, nbc news, new york up next, the unusual new coronavirus symptom.
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welcome back now to a possible new coronavirus symptom that is beginning to reveal itself. our medical correspondent dr. john torres joins us now. john, tell us about these reports we're hearing of people losing their sense of smell and taste. >> lester, coronavirus is a respiratory virus, and it invades your nose and throat, so it can interfere with the special nerve receptors that signal
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smell to your brain. once you lose your sense of smell, you can also lose your sense of taste the major concern is that in some patients, this might be the only symptom. so if you suddenly lose your sense of smell and don't have allergies, that's a red flag call your doctor you'll likely need to self-isolate for 14 days so you don't spread it to others. the good news is we're hearing once patients recover, they regain their senses quickly in just a few days or weeks. >> all right that's good to hear. dr. john, thanks so much. up next, tonight, best friends no distancing required
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finally, for man's best friend, the best days ever. here's joe fryer. >> reporter: to humans, it's called social distancing. >> come here >> reporter: but for pets, this is the antithesis of distance more time at home means more time cuddling up with these guys, loyal friends, temporary office assistants who could never be kept six feet away >> come on >> reporter: in fact, many families are taking advantage of their homebound status by adopting or fostering pets some shelters have cleared out while the aspca has seen foster care increase by 70% in new york and l.a. as one meme suggests, people may call this the worst year in the history of our lives, but for dogs, what a time to be alive >> can you roll over >> reporter: more treats, more play time, more moments simply lounging around >> are you guys quarantined? >> reporter: it's hard
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to know if they know what's going on, but it's safe to say right now humans and pets are bringing each other much needed joy. joe fryer, nbc news. >> our best buddies. that's "nbc nightly news." i'm lester holt. for all of us, thank you for watching take care. ziefrjts the magnitude of what we have to accomplish, we must do together. sniemt we need to do a petter job as the bottom liven social distancing. shutting down parking lots and all state parks. that includes our local beaches. the news after 6:00 starts right now of the we'll be with you until 7:30 this evening.
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start with the positives. california companies are stepping up, repurposing facilities to make gowns and 3d printed masks. bloom tech noll in sun you vail and tesla making sure hospitals have respirators. the downside, the governor warning about the wig crowds. even if you mean well, stay away from people. >> you want to bend the curve. we have got to bend to a deeper understanding and meet this moment head on that we have to act differently. it's the sum total of literally hundreds of millions of people acting differently to meet this moment. maximizing a little bit of their inconvenience in the short ternl to minimize the extraordinary inconvenience over the long-term. >> there are some global headlines as well today. the olympics are in the headlines.

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